Michelle Obama’s 1700 Calorie Hypocrisy

by Michelle Minton on July 12, 2011 · 7 comments

in Features, Health and Illness, Nanny State, Personal Liberty, Regulation

Post image for Michelle Obama’s 1700 Calorie Hypocrisy

I am no fan of ad hominem attacks, especially when it’s the President and his administration that deserve true criticism for their policies. So, when I read the articles labeling the First Lady as a hypocrite for indulging in a high-fat fast food meal, I was reluctant to join in on the rancor. Yet, as the head of a federally funded task force, Michelle Obama is, for all intents and purposes, part of an administration that has waged a veritable war on consumers’ ability to choose the foods they want to consume.

As an outspoken advocate for a healthy eating and warrior-queen in the fight against childhood obesity, many were surprised by reports that Michelle Obama had been “caught” chowing down on a 1700 calorie lunch at Shake Shack in DC, consisting of a burger, fries, and a chocolate shake.  Many called her a hypocrite.

She is not a hypocrite, at least not for this. Mrs. Obama has repeatedly stated that maintaining healthy diet doesn’t mean one must never indulge in cookies, fries, or burgers. That her lunch at a burger shack is newsworthy leads me to believe that she isn’t regularly ingesting massive quantities of fast food—so she’s not a hypocrite. She is, however, a dilettante and an elitist who, like so many other lifestyle moralists, doesn’t think or care about the effects that the policies they advocate will have on people who are not part of the middle or upper classes.

In 2010, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum, creating the federal Task Force on Childhood Obesity, and Michelle Obama’s now well-known Let’s Move Campaign, which receives $1 billion a year in federal funds.

While the Obamas are happy to throw around the 27 percent of Americans are obese, they are less vocal about the rates of hunger and poverty in the nation. According to polls from 2010, 14.7 percent of Americans lived in food insecurity and fear of starvation, while 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty.

While the policies advocated by Michelle Obama and others in the administration won’t affect her ability to maintain a balanced diet with the occasional trip to the Shake Shack, the new nutritional-requirement burdens and proposed taxes on “junk food” to discourage consumption, result in increased food prices that will hurt the most vulnerable Americans. For example, as the Daily Caller reported, the push on Wal-Mart to sell only those foods that meet the feds’ standard of nutrition will result in companies reformulating products because they can’t afford to not sell to Wal-Mart. The increased cost to manufacture these reformulated foods will be passed along to Wal-Mart and then onto consumers who will pay higher prices on all foods, not just junk foods.

In addition, as CEI recently wrote regarding the FTC’s proposed ban on junk food advertising to children, the requirements, apart from being an overreach of government authority, will not even solve the problem they seek to address. Adolescents get only 17 percent of their nutrition from fast food restaurants. Therefore, the vast majority of their food is consumed under adult supervision (in the home or at school). The root of the problem isn’t advertising; it’s education availability and supervision. Parents have abdicated their responsibility to teach proper nutrition to their children (perhaps a response to the ever increasing presence of the nanny state) and in many parts of the country parents simply can’t afford to buy diet heavy in fresh foods. The solution is not more government restrictions, taxes, or guidelines — the answer is cheaper food and more personal responsibility, which we’ll only get when government gets out of our pantries and out of way.

Mrs. Obama can chew on that thought during her next trip to the Shake Shack.

Kate July 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

It is widely known that for many years French people managed to escape obesity. There is a reason why…perhaps you should do some research on the steps that the French government took many years ago.
We have kids who come to school with soft drinks in their hand and a half-finished candy bar in their mouth. Yes, that is breakfast. An effort has to begin somewhere and I applaud Michele Obama for shining the spotlight on what should be a national disgrace. My thought is that we don’t have to really worry about Social Security if our nation continues down the path where food and our food supply is concerned…with the increase in cases of high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer in children and adults…the life expectancy of our populace will drop dramatically.

Kirby Wendler July 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

Congrats. I don’t think we need to call Ms Obama out for losing her “buff” yet. But, I am disturbed by you trying to make a case that policies/regulations will increase food prices and pressures on people already in financial stress. I guess the 27% obesesity stat does include the poverty stricken? It’s unclear to me from your article that higher prices for fat foods will find its market in poor people at Wal Mart… or that manufacturers would necessarily raise their prices after “reformulating”. I also hate it that in the same sentence you quote a percent of people living in food insecurity and the actual millions living in poverty… from data in 2010 when your links went to data in 2009… and not necessarily polled data. I wanted to believe your article because I think we sometimes do regulate and prohibit when we should just educate. But, your argument needs work and it makes assumptions of tax/regulatory legislation not in evidence yet and therefore needlessly fans the flames of outrage over nothing… while waiving a 1400 calorie lunch to get attention.

Grover Nopequist July 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm

We don’t need the government out of the way, we need tea bagging republicans like you out of the way. Get a life.

Fash July 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm

What a mature and articulate response. This argument really made me change my mind. Thank you for all of your insight.

Mary July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Are you suggesting that we have more government involvement?? That is not what our founders wanted when they designed the constitution. If you don’t love America and what it stands for, then you need to move to another country…how about Greece? oops..now may not be a good time. how about the Czech republic? they have a welfare state going right now…you might be comfortable there.
how about a place where you don’t have freedom of speech?

Debbie July 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Notwithstanding her indulging on rare occasions, the proof is in the body, and she and her family are in good physical shape.

However, legislating what we eat is wrong.

Parents have abdicated LOTS of their responsibilities in teaching their kids, including morality, honesty, integrity, values, hard work, finances, savings, commitment, etc. Advertising and the horrible values that Hollywood puts out have replaced them and the kids today as a whole are suffering.

17% if an adolescent’s diet at fast food restaurants is a LOT. It’s obscene.

When someone speaks out against these things, the libs cringe and cry “I’m offended” and conservative backs up so as not to “hurt their feelings.” It’s time to take the gloves off and start offending people by letting society know that values are important, families are important, whether it’s food or money or schooling, parents need to be involved, learn to make good decisions for themselves, and start teaching that to their kids! And parents that don’t need to have social pressures to let them know they should, offense or not. We can’t idly sit by and watch lazy parents destroy the next generation because we don’t want to offend the parents.

More Government July 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

We need more and more government to tell us what to do. Maybe they should start sterilizing the poor people and the fat ones too.
I heard that VD is always on the rise, so maybe we should start castrating people too.
Perhaps they need to regulate how many times we wipe our butts so that we can avoid colon cancer too.
Seriously, people need to take personal responsibility and start TEACHING their children about the importance of morality, nutrition, a good education, good manners, INTEGRITY, and personal responsibility, etc.
However, it seems that some of these so-called “parents” need to learn these lessons themselves. They need to realize that having children means that they need to be good role models that lead by example.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: